At the start of April, Sony Interactive Entertainment will be shifting their focus to the development of first-party games. The news comes earlier this morning from a press release, detailing a corporate restructuring on April 1. Sony’s aim is “to remain competitive and deliver on its commitment to make PlayStation the Best Place to Play”. This follows the announcement that Sony will discontinue PS3 and Vita games from PS Plus’ free games. Following an outstanding year for first-party Nintendo games and Microsoft’s similar announcement in November, Sony is following suit. This new focus on delivering “platform-defining content” is reminiscent of what made the previous generations of PlayStation so strong. After years of peripherals like Playstation VR and the Kinect, and 4K compatible machines like the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, it seems like games are back in the centre of the console wars.

Playstation Universe by I-Veritas-I at DeviantArt
The strength of the PlayStation brand has been it’s numerous exclusive IPs and marketable characters. Art – ‘PlayStation Universe’ by I-Veritas-I at DeviantArt.

Already a strong library

While many have criticised the Xbox for its lack of first-party titles, the Playstation 4 already has a number of great exclusives. Currently, Sony is offering two of its strongest first-party titles for free as part of PS Plus. Bloodborne, the critically acclaimed Souls-genre exclusive, went unrivaled by anything released on Xbox One or Switch. Ratchet and Clank (PS4), is a beautiful remake/film tie-in, that exemplifies Sony’s ability to compete with Nintendo’s mascots.

Many of Sony’s studios have been busy producing top notch games. NaughtyDog released Last of Us Remastered, perfecting a game many considered perfect, Uncharted 4, finishing Nathan Drake’s story, and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, delivering more “platform-defining content” for fans. A few weeks ago Gamers Classified wrote about the breakout success of Shadow of the Colossus (PS4). However, this is not SIE Japan’s first game for the generation. They also released, after nearly nine years in development, Fumito Ueda’s The Last Guardian. Perhaps the biggest success story for Sony’s first-party titles is Horizon: Zero Dawn. In mid-February, Horizon: Zero Dawn won a Writer’s Guild award, having become the fastest selling new IP of this generation.

Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn was universally praised for its creative and uniquely original world

More upcoming titles

The announcement may seem somewhat suprising, as Sony already has a strong 2018 coming up. Just this morning, Quantic Dreams’ David Cage announced a release date for Detroit: Become Human. Available May 25, it looks like Cage is embracing the strenghts of Heavy Rain, in the multiple characters and plots, while learning from the mistakes of Beyond: Two Souls, leaving fantasy for SciFi.

Before that, Sony Santa Monica looks to release the next entry in their iconic God of War franchise. God of War 4 will continue Kratos’ story, from Greek to Norse mythology, on April 20. As an unexpected exclusive property, Spiderman (PS4) is shaping up to be what Arkham Asylum was for Batman. With a sprawling open world, many are already comparing it to the incredible Spiderman 2 (2004). Further into 2019 players can look to NaughtyDog to deliver what may be this generations defining title. The Last of Us 2 is already riding the wave of hype left by its predecessor, which critics hailed as near perfect and the PS3’s swansong. With no release date announced, Playstation exclusive Death Stranding is Hideo Kojima’s first project outside of the Metal Gear franchise. Expect the same peculiar charm Kojima has given Playstation over the years.

God of War 4 is Sony’s next big first-party release

With such a strong library of first-party titles and so many highly anticipated upcoming exclusives, 2018 is a good year for Playstation fans. As Sony look to further focus on strong first-party games, Nintendo and especially Microsoft need to keep up.